By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria joins rest of the world to commemorate 2021 International Women’s Day, IWD, an International Civil Society Organisation, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Monday, called for care-centered approach on women’s welfare.
This was contained in a statement issued by AAN, where the Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, lamented the poor treatment women still receive despite their effort and contribution at the family and national levels.
Ene also pointed out that Nigerian women were the hardest hit by social and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the year 2020 including job loss, low paid roles, little protection, domestic violence as a result of lockdowns, insecurity making women targets and easy preys.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021 (IWD 2021) is, ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.’
The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is apt “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. Today, we recommit to challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality.
“We join the world to amplify #ChooseToChallenge and call on all Nigerians to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive Nigeria where the empowerment and fulfillment of the rights of women and girls is normalized.
“The commemoration of the 2021 International Women’s Day is a strong reminder of the unanticipated struggles of Nigerian women who were the hardest hit by social and economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the year 2020.
“Many lost their paid jobs and women became saddled with the unpaid responsibility of caring for sick family members and providing their needs often in vulnerable, low paid roles with little protection. Reports of domestic violence doubled amidst an almost paralyzed support system for survivors of violence due to the lockdowns.
“Currently, insecurity has further plunged the country into multiple and intersecting crises with women as primary targets and easy prey. As the country re-strategizes to rise above this current situation, we call for the adoption of a care-centered approach that recognizes that care and well-being are critical to sustaining societies, economies, and the environment.
“A care-centered approach also entails investing in gender-based violence prevention and response in all public and private spaces. Care needs to be valued, redistributed, and should be integral to humanitarian preparedness and response policies.”
She also stressed that AAN being a social justice non-governmental organization working to promote women’s rights, combat poverty, and all forms of injustice in Nigeria calls on the Nigerian government and all government agencies to prioritize the incorporation of “Care” at the center of re-organizing the economy and society.
“As the world beams a spotlight on women, we call on the Nigerian government to reflect and move from policy to action. Governments at all levels should classify and prioritize all GBV services as essential services and ensure that they are publicly funded, universal, and gender-responsive including services for excluded populations without discrimination.
“ActionAid Nigeria also calls for a scale-up of investments in public services, including public healthcare services in order to reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care and domestic work; and ensure women public sector workers who are at the frontline have decent work and a guarantee of international labour standards”, she said.